Sunday, May 27, 2018

Tarot: Drama and Facts

This post was inspired by a post on somebody else's blog (which I'm not going to reference) about a book which claims to set in opposition the drama with which we surround ourselves, and cool rational facts about our current human situation. I am also not going to reference the book because I haven't read it and would end up being critical of what various summaries I have read, say what the book says.
I feel the main constituency for the book is people perturbed by the hysterical ranting so prevalent in our media - rich world, that the environment is doomed, all of the money in the world will shortly be in the hands of two people and then the only thing we will have to look forward to is the impending Armageddon which will probably be next week anyway. Of course I'm a queen and drama is second nature. I'm also cynical enough to think that no amount of trying to balance out drama with facts will stop some clown creating another disaster at whim.
Nonetheless this opposition made me wonder what tarot cards would represent the dramatic world view and which would represent the cold rational factual world. I thought I knew this anyway but was in for a surprise when I actually pulled some cards.

For a start I thought that if cards indicating cold rationality would be anywhere it would be in the suit of Swords, which of course represent thought. But I was surprised to find that the archetypal drama queen cards were virtually all in Swords, not in Wands where I had naively expected them to be. True of course some are in Wands and some in Cups and none in the doughty Earth-element Pentacles. I was even more surprised to find that there weren't more in the Major Arcana, at least in my opinion. Perhaps it says more about my own approach but I personally don't consider Death or Judgement to be drama cards - in fact I noticed that I was seeing almost all the events of the Major Arcana as things which just happen and not cause to make a song and dance. On the other hand I did see much more drama in the relatively pedestrian events of the Minor Arcana. As usual you think you're setting out to get to know the tarot but it shows you yourself.
So where is cool, rational, factual thinkin represented in the tarot? Certainly not where I expected and I wonder whether all of my opinions in this post are indicative of my own inner world, since I found that the cards I think indicate rational thinking also indicate power and authority. All four kings, for example. I was surprised to find that three of the cards I picked are Pentacles, suggesting that the tarot is saying that if you want to think rationally you have to have both feet on the ground. I also tried out another hunch I had that since there are hints in the RWS tarot of the alternative suit attribution of Swords to Water and Cups to Air (see the Knight of Cup's helmet for example, there would be a hidden resource of empirical thinking in the Cups, but they proved to be a reservoir of watery emotion.
I am genuinely surprised by this and will no doubt be revisiting it. Oh and apologies for the way the post is set out if you're reading on a computer - inserting photos always upsets blogger and I don't like having photos on a line to themselves. Sigh. This one is probably better looking in mobile view.


  1. You know I'm not exactly "friends" with tarot cards, so prepare for hideous generalisations here, but from the very first card, it seems to me that Swords invite Drama: Why use one Sword to pierce a heart when one can use three!? Any more than three is just asking for trouble. Wands are not much better, but they mostly appear haphazard rather than dramatic. The Cups you've drawn I see as introspective, especially the 5 of Cups - definitely on the road to rational thought.
    I'm unsure about the Pentacles, but that could be because I'm thinking about what this looks like on a mobile (it looks OK on my PC)?

    1. I definitely think you could read tarot no problem if you tried! And you are of course spot on about the swords. It's my own expectation that since they are supposed to be thought they didn't ought to be dramatic, which creates my own conflict here.


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